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Acting CJ Mwilu orders temporary closure of Kericho Law Courts

RIFT VALLEY
By Nikko Tanui | March 5th 2021

Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu (pictured) has ordered the temporary closure of Kericho Law Courts, citing structural defects.

The court will remain shut for two weeks to allow time to re-construct the building and ensure the safety of Judiciary staff.

“An investigation report highlighted structural flaws arising from modifications undertaken on the building in 2014. The investigation report was forwarded to the Judiciary on March 3, 2021 with directions that the building be vacated as a matter of urgency to avert a potential disaster,” the acting CJ said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, Kericho law courts were closed after the National Building Institute (NBI) condemned the buildings.

The county government had issued an eviction order following an audit that declared the structure unsound for occupation.

Chief Registrar Anne Amadi witnessed the closure and led the Court Users Committee (CUC) in assessing Kericho Rehabilitation Center as temporary relocation of the courts.

NBI structural audit and inspection found the courts to be a risk for occupation due to design deficiency.

The most affected court includes the High Court, Resident Magistrates Court, Employment and Labour Relations, and Environment and Land Court.

NBI recommended that urgent corrective measures are required to be undertaken to satisfy the code of safety requirement.

"No further vertical extension is allowed on the structure. The inadequate foundation must be strengthened to avert further structural movement and settlements, " the report read.

An evacuation order by Kericho County Government at the Kericho law courts. [Standard]

The NBI tests involved checking reinforcement mapping to determine the actual size and number of rebars used on the structural members, condition assessment of the existing g building in line with engineering requirements.

It further stated that all cracks appearing on the structural member should be repaired under the guidance of a competent structural engineer.

Kericho High Court Judge Asenath Nyaboke Onger argued during a meeting with the CUCs that though the NBI audit was a temporary setback, it could mark the beginning of the construction of modern courts.

“Maybe, the evacuation order came so that we can get better facilities and we can measure up to other counties, ” the judge noted.   

Institute of Engineers of Kenya South Rift branch chairman Eng David Koskei blamed the collapsing of buildings in Kericho on the failure of local building owners to engage relevant engineers.

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